Scientific Name: class Hirudinea

Leeches are segmented worms that live in lakes and slow portions of some rivers. They are good swimmers, travelling with a snake-like up-and-down motion. While they grow up to six inches in length, most leeches are under four inches, and trout feed primarily on those that are about two inches long.

A leech is a good meal for a fish, so a well-presented imitation can be attacked agressively in almost any month of the year. Unfortunately, leeches are primarily nocturnal. If you're wacky enough to fish a lake at night (and you're at a place where that is allowed), a leech is a good pattern to tie on. Dawn, dusk, and cloudy days are other good times for a leech pattern.

Leeches can move quite fast when they are pursued, so some anglers fish them at high speed on the theory that a trout will think another trout is after the leech, which will trigger a greed-based aggressive reaction. Sometimes though, this presentation will only spook the trout.


How to Match a Leech

Hatches are matched from Westfly's database of "standard" fly patterns.

Size 2-10 Woolly Bugger, Bunny Leech, Hale Bopp Leech, Possie Bugger. Black, browns, olives
Lakes; backwaters and slow sections of rivers: count-down-and-retrieve, slow retrieve, wind drift


COLOR: Tans, browns, olives, black

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS: Changes shape while swimming